, Newburyport, MA


August 1, 2013

Our view: Salisbury heading toward ugly political brawl


Medeiros countered that he wants a hearing on the matter, and it will be held next week.

If things go as it seems they will go, it will be a very heated hearing, with lots more fingerpointing and accusations, and ultimately, Medeiros will be bumped from the commission. And a message will be sent to other town boards and commissions — toe the line. But it won’t end there. If history is a guide, the political fighting will grow.

There’s no doubt that Medeiros violated the accepted rules of decorum. Salisbury has seen too much of that of late, as was witnessed by fits of shouting at a health board meeting and an ugly confrontation between a police officer and the building inspector. Selectmen are within their right, technically, to get rid of him.

But we question whether this is the appropriate use of the charter provision. We would expect that a fairly high threshold of bad behavior, or unprofessionalism, or unethical behavior, would have to be reached to trigger it. His conduct on the board isn’t being questioned. If selectmen have substantive accusations involving his conduct on the board, they should lay them out.

Salisbury has long had a deep political split, and in recent months it has outwardly grown. We can expect that ousting Medeiros will draw the battle lines even sharper.

Hopefully, a more peaceful alternative will develop. It should be up to Medeiros to acknowledge that his behavior was out of line, to apologize and to make sure he acts in a professional manner from here on. And perhaps selectmen can meet him halfway, keep him on the board through the end of his term and prevent a political sideshow from embroiling the town.

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